Siri and Android Voice Activation Applications
In the very near future you will spend more time talking to your phone than using your phone to talk to other people.
Siri can answer any question ...well, almost any question.
As Yogi Berra once so famously observed, "It's tough to make predictions, especially about the future".
But a lot of smart people are predicting that voice-activated apps for smart phones are going to explode in popularity in the very near future. Am I talking about Siri, the iPhone 4s "personal assistant"? Well, who isn't talking about Siri? Siri is a phenomenally successful platform for Apple. Ever since I got my new iPhone 4s I haven't been able to stop playing around with and seriously using this fantastic voice-activated application.
But there are some neat voice-activated apps for Android phones too. Jeannie (free) is one and Iris (free) is another. Hum, Iris spelled backward is ... And then there's Eva but she'll cost you $9. And there are other free Android voice-activated interaction apps like Vlingo Virtual Assistant. But the truth is that if you are using an Android phone you may already have most of the voice activated features baked-in to your OS to use some neat features that some people think that only Siri can deal with. Windows Phone 7 and Android both have their own voice command tools, Tellme and Voice Actions, pre-installed in the latest editions of their Operating Systems.
One of the most useful things that Siri can do is send an email to anyone in your contacts without you having to do anything other than speak into your phone. And yes, Windows Phone 7 and the newest Android phones can do this too, sort of anyway. But to make this happen with an iPhone 4s, you simply raise the phone to your ear whenever the LCD screen is active. The phone doesn't even have to be unlocked. Siri will launch and ask what she can help you with. You can say "Send and email to Bob" or "Email Bob" and Siri will ask you for a Subject for your email and if you say something like "my brother's birthday party" Siri will say, "Fine. What would you like your email to say?" and you can then dictate the body of your message. Siri will then say, "I've got it. Are ready to send it?" and "yes" and it's gone. Or you can tap on the message to edit it or add to it. At this point you can tap the microphone icon and continue dictating using not Siri but the iPhone's built in voice recognition software Nuance's Dragon Dictation. And unlike with Siri, you can take your time and use standard dictation terms like - comma, period, new paragraph, and all caps and all caps off, etc.
Apparently from what I'm hearing and seeing on the Web is that a lot of people don't know that it isn't necessary to go through all that interaction with Siri. All you really have to do to send an email using Siri is hold the phone to your ear and once Siri launches you say "Email Bob about my brother's birthday party and say it will be at my place at 4pm on the 23rd" and Boom that's it. The syntax is Email (recipient) About (subject) and Say (text of the message).
Of course Siri can do a lot of other useful things like post Tweets, Facebook updates, and send text messages. And Siri is a wiz at math. Why would you need to fiddle around with finding your calculator on your phone when you can just raise the phone to your ear and say "295 times 12". Siri says "O.K. here you go" and spits out the answer - 3540. She, I mean it, can also answer any trivia question you might be wondering about like, "What is the population of Pittsburgh?" - 305,704 or "Who won the World Series in 1967?" - the Saint Louis Cardinals.
Siri on iPhone 4s is one of the most incredible innovations in modern computing technology. This is another of Steve Jobs' dreams that came true.